NEW YORK (PIX11) — The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will return to its pre-pandemic form on Thursday, with its route restored through Manhattan, high-flying helium balloons once again pulled by handlers and crowds welcomed back to cheer them on.
Rehearsals were in full swing on Wednesday for the iconic parade, now in its 95th year.
Also Wednesday, families will get to enjoy the Upper West Side tradition of 15 character balloons coming to life as they are blown up the night before, so long as guests 12 and older are vaccinated. Children under 12 who are not vaccinated may attend with a vaccinated adult.
The pre-parade balloon inflation event runs from noon to 6 p.m. Wednesday. Those who plan to stop by will need to enter at West 72nd Street and Columbus Avenue for the security and COVID vaccination check.
Last year, the COVID pandemic sidelined most of the show, limiting the parade to taped performances around the Herald Square area. However, people are invited back Thursday morning to take in the pre-Turkey tradition along the two-and-a-half-mile route. To ensure a safe event, the NYPD will close dozens of streets within blocks around the parade route, causing a Gridlock Alert Day starting at 7 a.m.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.